You Are Only as Strong as Your Foundation

Your ability to stand strong is based completely on the strength of what you are standing upon. My daughters make me nervous when they climb on top of something that is not sturdy, something that will give out and cause them to fall. Standing is really not about our ability but the strength of what we are standing upon.

For this reason, the apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian believers that they not only received and believed the gospel, but they continually stood on the firm foundation of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1).

In the same way, community is only as strong as what it is built upon. The community (common unity) among believers in a church is only strong if it stands upon that which is everlasting and eternal. If community is built only on life stages, interests, or zip codes, the community is weak. And thus it disappears as the foundation shifts.

In John 17, Jesus prayed for us–those who would believe in Him through the message of the disciples. He prayed that our community would be strong and that we would be one as He and the Father are one. We see two challenges in John 17 that should inform how churches build community among those God entrusts to the church.

First, community must be built upon the pure and faultless Word of God. Jesus prayed for His disciples, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth” (v. 17). If folks in small groups, Sunday School classes, or whatever the church calls smaller gatherings, if they are not forming relationships around the Word, then the community is inevitably and infinitely shallow. It will not remain. God has anointed His Word as the living and active sword to wreak holy havoc in our lives. His Word sharpens and purifies us.

Second, community must result in mission. The end result of small groups gathering must not be merely small groups gathering. True community that stands on Jesus and His accomplished work for us results in mission. Jesus prayed, “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me” (v. 21). Jesus’ prayer for our community has always been that it would result in others knowing that He is the sent One–the One who came for us.

Church leaders, don’t just build community. Build community that lasts.

Many church leaders are deciding that they don’t just want groups of people meeting, but they want groups of people (kids, students, and adults) building community on the gospel of Jesus. They want people studying the gospel not in isolation but in community. Because of this longing from church leaders, we have recently launched The Gospel Project. It is an ongoing study (three years) that is designed to bring groups to Jesus through all of Scripture. It can also be utilized by groups that meet for shorter seasons. We have been overwhelmed with the response thus far to The Gospel Project. If you would like to take a look at the study, you can pilot the curriculum here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

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